Favorite player ever / Favorite player now

Mugsy's Jock

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Simple enough -- intrigued to see where this goes given the diversity of favorite teams around the board...

FAVORITE PLAYER EVER: Clint Dempsey. Played really well for each of my three favorite teams (Revs, Spurs, USMNT). During his time on those squads, they weren't especially well known for their diverse and powerful offenses, but he still got his with great effort and creativity. Certainly could've had a longer and more lucrative career in Europe, but chose to return to MLS and be a cornerstone player for that league.

FAVORITE PLAYER NOW: Heung-Min Son. Like Dempsey, he's just all hustle and smarts and creativity. Always makes the extra run even when it's unlikely he'll get the ball (I don't think anyone challenges keepers clearing balls more), and has the speed to make those sprints less futile than they first appear. Plays with infectious joy. And his sincerity in being willing to follow through on his commitment to the South Korean military despite the fact he could've figured a way around it given his popularity is commendable. [Even more than his leading South Korea to an Asian Cup championship in his last opportunity before having to enlist.]

[Paolo Maldini was my first favorite player, having been a back myself and seeing him thoroughly control his half of the field in the '92 World Cup. I'm also a big fan of Vincent Kompany.]
 
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SoxFanInCali

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Ever: Steven Gerrard (shocker, I know). Stayed at Liverpool when he could have walked into any other club in the world. Pretty much single-handedly dragged a squad with a couple other good players (Xabi Alonso, Jamie Carragher) and a bunch of guys like Djimi Traore, Harry Kewell, Milan Baros, and Jerzy Dudek to a European Cup. Scored more goals in the 85th minute or later to win games than I can remember. And yes, he slipped, but they aren't anywhere close to that position without him.

Now: Roberto Firmino. The guy that makes the front 3 work. Scores his share, but also makes those runs that opens things up for Mane and Salah. Has the whitest teeth on earth and scores goals regularly without looking.
 

dirtynine

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Ever: Clint Mathis. Mercurial, talented, possessing (in the most fleeting of ways) that something un-teachable that I’ve prayed American players would one day develop. The opposite of the “well-organized, great athlete” approach to making American soccer competitive.

Now: Christian Pulisic. The vanguard of something great to come, I hope.
 

BCsMightyJoeYoung

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Ever .. a coin flip between Gerrard and El Niño Fernando Torres (his reign was far too brief .. that injury he suffered prior to his last year in Liverpool really derailed a superstar career)

Now ? Sadio Mane

Edit: only saw him play a few times (World cups in 74 and 78 ) but Johan Cruyff was amazing.
 
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ninjacornelius

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Ever: Zinedine Zidane, which is bizarre seeing as how I always root against Juventus and Real Madrid. But he was just that good. To me, he transcended normal rooting interests. Plus, he head-butted a racist.

Now: Messi. I'm not a Barcelona fan, but seriously, we are all alive and can watch the greatest player ever in the most popular sport the world has ever seen. We should all consider ourselves lucky.
 

Cellar-Door

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Ever- Ronaldinho, so gifted, and seemingly dedicated to having fun/enjoying himself over anything else.

Now- not sure I really have one at the moment, Lanzini maybe?
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Ever - Paul Gascoigne - Gazza could do things that a short, pudgy dude just shouldn't. Heart on sleeve. Years have wrinkled the wallpaper, but what a joy. Honorable mention to John Barnes and Metthew Le Tissier.
Now - Two years ago would have been Spurs' Mousa (one "s") Dembele. A beast and a ballerina in the the center of the park, even if he bailed in the final third.
Now - tbd. Impress me!
 

Kliq

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Ever: Zlatan; which shouldn't require an explanation, but as an added bonus he gave me massive cred in middle and high school when I would rep my Swedish heritage in front of my teammates. The fact that Sweden produced a player THAT gifted was extremely important to middle school Kliq.

Now: Harry Kane; his rise solidified my adoption of Spurs and over time has just grown on me as an all-around cool human being. His favorite athlete is Tom Brady, how cool is that?
 

rguilmar

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Ever: Roberto Carlos. You couldn’t look away from the screen when ever he had the ball because he could score from literally anywhere. Still the scorer of the two greatest goals I’ve seen (end line, no angle goal against Tenerife and what seemed like a 40 yard outside-of-the-boot free kick against France).
NOTE: Loved watching Jay-Jay Okocha (so nice they named him twice) but didn’t see enough of him.

Now: Messi for reasons already given.
 

SocrManiac

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Ever: Alessandro Del Piero. The guy was an absolute artist. He scored in ways nobody would even attempt. He had an area on the pitch where it seemed like every strike just went in (Del Piero Zone). He was never quite the same player after his knee injury, but he's still one of the best I've ever seen.

Now: Gigi Buffon. GOAT. 'Nuff said.
 

Zomp

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Wayne Rooney. We're the same age, I got into soccer seriously around the time he transferred from Everton to United, and I've seen him score over 260 goals for my club. He had a hard fall from grace towards the end but I don't think younger fans realize just how good he was when he was in his early 20s. He could score, pass, tackle, etc... His work rate was unmatched. He had an intelligent way of playing, mixed with a little bit of anger that endeared him to most fans. 2005-2010 Rooney was incredible.

He's still playing, so I guess technically he's still my favorite now. But there are a lot of players that I like.
 

nayrbrey

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Ever: Eric Cantona. Yes he was an ass, but he was a dominant force that could take over a match with his physicality or skill. In the 90s when I first started to get into the premier league he was everywhere.
Edit: plus the greatest soccer commercial ever “Au revoir”
View: https://youtu.be/PMsIK9_THM4


Current: Messi Messi Messi! His ability to undress multiple defenders and score at will it seems is what makes this a beautiful game.
 
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67YAZ

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Ever - Paolo Maldini. The patron saint of fullbacks & idol to those of us who grew up too slow, too unskilled, too nothing to play in the middle or higher up the pitch. AdRock summed him up best, "I got grace, class, style, finesse, and debonair/Murdalize motherfuckers 'cause I just don't care."

Current - Trent Alexander-Arnold. Yes, I wholly identify with fullbacks. TAA is so much fun, swashbuckling and young, prone to the occasional lapse but much more frequently prone to the brilliant. And that fake-out corner against Barca?
 
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CodPiece XL

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I think I have had this conversation in various bars on 5 continents and when someone asks me I ask at what position? I can't say I have a favorite overall player but I have certain ones for every position. But whittling it down a bit :

Defender: as above, Maldini. A brilliant defender played his career at left back, the astonishing part is that he was actually right footed.

Midfield: Box to Box player: Lothar Matthaus, great passer, even when pressured made time on the ball, tireless with a capacity to track back and snuff out attacks with great tackling. Played sweeper towards end of career.

Midfield: Creative: a true number 10, I hate saying this, I don't like the guy but I have to say Maradona.

Forward: a poacher, always being at the right spot at the right time: Raul, clinical, efficient, prolific....not nicknamed the Ferrari for nothing.

I really don't have one right now, but if someone asks me if I could wake up tomorrow and have the skills of a current player who would it be? ...Messi.
 

Bunt Single

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Ever: Iniesta: Kind of an idiosyncratic choice, but I got back into following the sport just as Barcelona/Spain were peaking and just I began studying the flow of the game, trying to decode how dangerous moments were created. And Iniesta always seemed to be at the center of things -- an eye of calm in the chaos he created.

Now: Two years ago I would have said Mbappe . But as of this year I'll say Pulisic. I'm really curious to see what he can become.
 

coremiller

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This is easy, Leo Messi. We've all been privileged to watch him, and we'll probably never see his like again.

Some others: Bergkamp (despite being a Gooner), Xavi, Paul Scholes, Andrea Pirlo (yes, I have a thing for deep-lying midfield playmakers).
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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This is easy, Leo Messi. We've all been privileged to watch him, and we'll probably never see his like again.

Some others: Bergkamp (despite being a Gooner), Xavi, Paul Scholes, Andrea Pirlo (yes, I have a thing for deep-lying midfield playmakers).
That's funny. My favorite player growing up was Gazza. Despite my later becoming a big Arsenal fan, there is still a huge Gazza Italia 90 poster hanging on the wall in my old bedroom in my parents house.
 

ddeveau

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First a reminder, the thread title is Favorite, not best. It may well be the same for many, but I don't think this is the thread for comments like " I don't like the guy but I have to say ...". Okay, having said that -

All time: Earnie Stewart. I've had a love for all things Holland since I was lucky enough to go there for a youth tournament. But I also think Earnie is a solid choice for a MNT fan. The goals against Columbia in WC 94 and Mexico in WCQ in Columbus '01 come to mind. And while not the most talented, he was always solid and seemed to get the most of his ability.

Current: Michael Parkhurst. I might be blurring the term current, since he's not getting many minutes these days. But as an undersized center back myself, Parkhurst had the game I always liked to believe I had at my best (at a lower level, of course).
 

CodPiece XL

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First a reminder, the thread title is Favorite, not best. It may well be the same for many, but I don't think this is the thread for comments like " I don't like the guy but I have to say ...". Okay, having said that -

All time: Earnie Stewart. I've had a love for all things Holland since I was lucky enough to go there for a youth tournament. But I also think Earnie is a solid choice for a MNT fan. The goals against Columbia in WC 94 and Mexico in WCQ in Columbus '01 come to mind. And while not the most talented, he was always solid and seemed to get the most of his ability.

Current: Michael Parkhurst. I might be blurring the term current, since he's not getting many minutes these days. But as an undersized center back myself, Parkhurst had the game I always liked to believe I had at my best (at a lower level, of course).
I think I am the only one to say I don't like the guy but he was a favorite. I was referring to Maradona. Perhaps I should explain. At that time in my youth, watching Maradona was must see TV, I remember watching him with groups of Barcalona fans. I had never seen a player with such lower body strength, his ability to run at defenders and have such close control of the ball, he was a nightmare to defend against. It was a case of cancelling plans for the evening if you could watch this genius play. Now, many years on, I feel a bit guilty knowing that he was blowing enough coke to kill a horse, denied fathering a child and in general was of questionable character. It's sort of like how some people on this board feel about Curt Schilling after some of the things he has said after his career was over. Should I change all my positive perceptions from my youth based on what I know now? It just feels kind of sleazy. Having said all that, there was the hand of God that knocked England out.....so yeah...screw it...still a favorite no matter what.
 

Plantiers Wart

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And Maradona only had a left foot. Couldn’t hit shit with his right.
All time? Ruud Gullit. Worked with an Italian waiter while in college the year Samporia broke through and won Serie A. It was all we talked about. And he called everyone who did anything above the norm “Gullit” that year.

Current? As a Pool fan, have to say VVD. He was the difference.
 

veritas

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Ever: Messi. He's just a magical player and has continuously adapted to keep himself the best player in the world for what, 10 years now?

Now, as in right this moment: Tanguay Ndombele. I've only seen one game, but he gives Spurs something they haven't had since my 2nd favorite player ever - Mousa Dembele. Someone who is very good at winning the ball and moving it forward. Demebele was such a unique talent, for better and worse. I think Ndombele is a little bit more well rounded, but definitely seems to have more creativity and finesse in the final third. Ask me this question Sunday and my answer might be Lo Celso. Ask me in a month, probably Messi.
 

pedro1918

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Now and rapidly approaching forever: VVD. I was a defender when I played. Watching VVD is a joy. Especially after the Skrtel and Lovren years.

Ever: Very much a personal choice, but when MLS started I was a big DC United fan. I really enjoyed Marco Etcheverry dominating the early years of MLS. El Diablo!

As far as the world goes, I was a big Roberto Baggio fan. I was crushed when he missed that PK.
 

DrewDawg

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Ever: Robbie Keane When I adopted the Spurs about 15 years ago, he was one of their top players and I just loved the way he played and his goal celebration.

Now: In order to not be boring and pick Messi or Kane, I'll also go with Hueng-Min Son. He's just a lot of fun to watch, and plays the way you want everyone on your team to play.
 

jkempa

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I’ve only been watching the sport for a few years and still have a lot to learn. But I guess I’ll play along.

All-time: Yannick Bolasie - so much fun to watch his skill with the ball, flying by or tricking defenders and always with a big smile on his face. I love his story coming out of the Maltese league to a big signing at Everton, where he suffered a terrible injury and hasn’t been the same since.

Now: I guess Wilf Zaha or Pulisic, for obvious reasons.
 

ddeveau

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I think I am the only one to say I don't like the guy but he was a favorite. I was referring to Maradona. Perhaps I should explain. At that time in my youth, watching Maradona was must see TV, I remember watching him with groups of Barcalona fans.
Okay, my bad. I think maybe if you'd specified you don't like him as a person, but ... I would've caught on. And given it was Maradona, maybe I should've made that inference anyway, but I'm not that bright.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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I’ve only been watching the sport for a few years and still have a lot to learn. But I guess I’ll play along.

All-time: Yannick Bolasie - so much fun to watch his skill with the ball, flying by or tricking defenders and always with a big smile on his face. I love his story coming out of the Maltese league to a big signing at Everton, where he suffered a terrible injury and hasn’t been the same since.

Now: I guess Wilf Zaha or Pulisic, for obvious reasons.
Wow. I could have named 10000 guys who I thought would show up in this thread before Bolasie. Everton are trying to offload him now and they can't get any offers at all.

But you're right - in the half-season at Everton before he got hurt, he was tops in the squad for average game 1-10 rating by the Liverpool Echo. Now he's a guy who can't even stick at Anderlecht.
 

jkempa

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Wow. I could have named 10000 guys who I thought would show up in this thread before Bolasie. Everton are trying to offload him now and they can't get any offers at all.

But you're right - in the half-season at Everton before he got hurt, he was tops in the squad for average game 1-10 rating by the Liverpool Echo. Now he's a guy who can't even stick at Anderlecht.
I had my favorite day of soccer a few years ago. I was in London for work, did the tour of Selhurst, got my wife’s picture with Yohan Cabaye, Palace beat West Brom 2-0, and people were singing, “we are going on a European tour!” and “Tony Pulis, what have you done?”. The goals were from Cabaye and Bolasie (and I triple captained Aguero who scored 5 goals that day). Palace were in 5th place after that game I think. Life was good. And then Alan Pardew reverted to Alan Pardew.
 

fletcherpost

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Favourite all time: Kenny Dalglish. I remember my dad taking me to his mates house to watch Liverpool V Bruges in the European Cup Final. Kenny scored the only goal. I got a Liverpool strip for my burthday a few months later. Seeing Kenny and the other Scottish players play pivotal roles in Liverpools European Domination was very important to me growing up. Much like seeing Gregory's Girl for the first time. It's important to see my ane folk doin it at the highest level.

Current Fave: Andy Robertson. The man sweats blood for the cause. Gives everything on the pitch and has worked so hard to become a world class (yes he is world class) Left back. Recently Klopp referred to him as maybe the best Left back in the world. He might be, he might not be, but he's in the conversation. Some folk didn't like it when Robbo manhandled Messi in the Cl Semi Final. I loved it. Hus interviews and promo stuff he does for the team are cool too.

Non Scottish: VVD. A sexy man, a sexy footballer. He makes the game look easy. I'd love to see him with his hair down. I don't mean to objectify VVD, but it's hard not to. He's almost a perfect human sporting specimen. He joined Liverpool as the most expensive defender at the time, but you never saw any signs of pressure or the weight of the price tag. And less than two years later he's picked up a Champions League Winners medal.
 

CodPiece XL

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Favourite all time: Kenny Dalglish. I remember my dad taking me to his mates house to watch Liverpool V Bruges in the European Cup Final. Kenny scored the only goal. I got a Liverpool strip for my burthday a few months later. Seeing Kenny and the other Scottish players play pivotal roles in Liverpools European Domination was very important to me growing up. Much like seeing Gregory's Girl for the first time. It's important to see my ane folk doin it at the highest level.

Current Fave: Andy Robertson. The man sweats blood for the cause. Gives everything on the pitch and has worked so hard to become a world class (yes he is world class) Left back. Recently Klopp referred to him as maybe the best Left back in the world. He might be, he might not be, but he's in the conversation. Some folk didn't like it when Robbo manhandled Messi in the Cl Semi Final. I loved it. Hus interviews and promo stuff he does for the team are cool too.

Non Scottish: VVD. A sexy man, a sexy footballer. He makes the game look easy. I'd love to see him with his hair down. I don't mean to objectify VVD, but it's hard not to. He's almost a perfect human sporting specimen. He joined Liverpool as the most expensive defender at the time, but you never saw any signs of pressure or the weight of the price tag. And less than two years later he's picked up a Champions League Winners medal.
But Andy Roberston was too wee to play for Celtic.
 

mic99

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Pirlo or Larsson for favorite player from my football watching time.

American- Brian McBride....just a warrior
 

Dick Pole Upside

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When I first started following football, it was King Kenny, Der Kaiser, and Cruyff. Loved them all.

Today? I’m a big Liverpool fan, and also love VVD, Robbo, and The Egyptian King, but it’s gotta be Mané for me. I think he’s growing into his potential and is frequently electrifying these days.